Recent coverage of the problems facing Australia Post demonstrate the importance of effective stakeholder management (http://www.themandarin.com.au/23427-australia-post-concerns-raised-stakeholder-consultation/).
Senators have expressed concern over Australia Post’s management of its stakeholder engagement processes, with CEO Ahmed Fahour coming in for a grilling at Senate Estimates. Australia Post CEO Ahmed Fahour has been criticised over his company’s handling of stakeholder consultation as it undergoes major restructuring at Senate Estimates. Senators expressed concern yesterday that Australia Post was doing a poor job of engaging the stakeholders — including franchisees, licensed post offices, business, unions and others — on the future of mail delivery as its letters service goes into “terminal decline”, as Australia Post CEO Ahmed Fahour himself described it.
Among the major criticisms were that Australia Post’s stakeholder engagement was not well-planned with clear goals in mind and that Australia Post had not treated stakeholder management as a two-way channel of communications.
Stakeholder management is only effective when:
- It is carefully planned and executed in a structured fashion, rather than on an ad hoc basis or driven by purely personal relationships;
- The objectives of stakeholder management are clearly articulated and aligned with corporate strategy;
- The execution of engagement plans is carefully managed and the contribution of stakeholder engagement to key performance criteria is monitored and measured; and
- It takes into account the real needs and expectations of all stakeholders, rather than serving as a one-directional means of communicating to stakeholders.
Unfortunately, many organisations do not adopt a thorough approach to stakeholder management. Rather, relationships are managed on an ad hoc basis, around personal relationships or as part of a “box-ticking” exercise in communications. Often relationships are maintained but with no clear objectives and no way of demonstrating the value delivered to the organisation. In these cases, relationships are not identified as key corporate assets and managed accordingly with appropriate resource allocation and assignment of responsibilities.
In an ever more complex and networked business environment, the importance of stakeholder management will become increasingly apparent, along with the steep cost poor stakeholder engagement.